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NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M

The NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M is a fast middle class graphics card for laptops. Depending on the version, it is based on the GF108, GF116 or GF106 architecture with different shader counts, clock speeds and memory configurations. It stems from the Fermi generation and supports DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0.

Versions (From highest to lowest performance):

  1. 144 cores 709MHz (GF106), 128Bit GDDR5, e.g. MSI GX780
  2. 144 cores 590MHz (GF106), 192Bit DDR3, e.g. Dell XPS 17Alienware M14x
  3. 144 cores 590MHz (GF106), 128Bit DDR3, e.g. Schenker XMG A501 / A701 (Clevo W150HRM / W170HN)
  4. 96 cores 753MHz (GF108), 128Bit GDDR5, e.g. Lenovo Y570p / Y560p
  5. 144 cores 525 MHz (GF116), 128 Bit DDR3, e.g. Medion Akoya P6812

GF106 architecture

The GF106 core of the GTX 555M is related to the GF100 core of the GeFore GTX 480M and offers 192 shaders and a 192 Bit memory bus for GDDR5. The GT 555M offers only 144 shaders and in some variants and a smaller memory bus with DDR3. Except for the memory controllers, the GF106 can basically be considered a halved GF104. Therefore, the architecture is not comparable to the old GT215 (e.g., GeForce GTS 350M) or GT216 (e.g., GeForce GT 330M) cores.

Unlike the GF100, the smaller GF104, GF106, and GF108 cores have been both shortened and considerably modified. In contrast to the GF100, which was designed for professional applications, these latter chips target the consumer market. They feature more shaders (3x16 instead of 2x16) and more texture units (8 instead of 4) and SFUs per streaming multi-processor (SM). Since there are still only 2 warp schedulers (versus 3 shader groups), Nvidia now uses superscalar execution to use the higher amount of shaders per SM more efficiently. In theory, the shaders can be utilized more efficiently and the performance per core can be improved.

However, it's worth noting that the performance of the GF106 can also be worse than the GF100 (and its predecessors) in worst case scenarios. The ECC memory protection, which is important for professional applications, was completely omitted and the FP64 hardware was shortened (only 1/3 of the shader are FP64-capable and thereby only 1/12 of the FP32’s performance). Because of these cutbacks, the size of the SM  grew only by 25% despite the higher number of shaders and larger warp schedulers with superscalar dispatch capabilities. Due to the different shader architectures and the higher clock rate of the shader domain, the core count of the Nvidia chip cannot be directly compared to AMD cores of the Radeon 5000 series (e.g. HD 5830).

Detailed information on the GF104 architecture (and by extension also the GF106 and GF108) can be found in the desktop GTX 460 article by Anandtech.

The GF114 and GF116 chips are slightly reworked chips that were introduced in 2011. Due to a changed transistor design, the clock rates were raised while maintaining more or less the same power consumption levels.


The performance of the GT 555M is highly dependent on the version of the card (see above). The 3DMark 06 performance, for example, ranges from 8857 points (Lenovo Ideapad Y570) to 13000 points (MSI GX780R). For all intents and purposes, the GT 555M in the Lenovo is therefore essentially a fast GeForce 550M. The average GT 555M (with 144 shaders) is positioned in the lower high end class and enables users to play demanding games in high settings at 1366x768. Only Metro 2033 had to be played in lower settings during our benchmark tests (see below).


A feature of the GF104/106/108 chips is the support for Bitstream HD Audio (Blu-Ray) output via HDMI. Similar to the Radeon HD 5730, the GT 555M can transfer Dolby True HD and DTS-HD bitstream-wise without quality loss to a HiFi receiver.

The GT 555M offers PureVideo HD technology for video decoding. The included Video Processor 4 (VP4) supports feature set C and allows the GPU to fully decode MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2 (MPEG-4 ASP - e.g., DivX or Xvid), VC-1/WMV9, and H.264 (VLD, IDCT, Motion Compensation, and Deblocking). 

Furthermore, the GPU is able to decode two 1080p streams simultaneously (e.g., for Blu-Ray Picture-in-Picture).

Through CUDA, OpenCL, and DirectCompute 2.1 support, the GeForce GT 555M can be of help in general calculations. For example, the stream processor can encode videos considerably faster than can a modern CPU. Furthermore, physics calculations can be done by the GPU using PhysX if supported, such as in Mafia 2 or Metro 2033.

According to Nvidia, the GT 555M supports 3D Vision. It enables the laptop to send 3D content (3D games, 3D Web Streaming, 3D photos, 3D Blu-Rays) to a built-in 3D-enabled screen or an external 3D TV if supported by the laptop manufacturer and when not in conjunction with Optimus.

The relatively high power consumption of the GeForce GT 555M suits it for larger laptops from 14-17". To save power, the card supports Optimus for automatic switching between the integrated graphics card from Intel and the Nvidia GPU. Even though the video card natively supports this feature, its implementation is fully dependent on the notebook manufacturer.

GeForce GT 500M Series

GeForce GT 555M 144 @ 0.53 - 0.75 GHz128, 192 Bit @ 785-900 MHz
GeForce GT 550M compare 96 @ 0.74 GHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 540M compare 96 @ 0.67 GHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 525M compare 96 @ 0.6 GHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520MX compare 48 @ 0.9 GHz64 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520M compare 48 @ 0.74 GHz64 / 128 Bit @ 800 / 900 MHz
Pipelines144 - unified
Core Speed525 - 753 (Boost) MHz
Shader Speed1180-1505 MHz
Memory Speed785-900 MHz
Memory Bus Width128, 192 Bit
Memory TypeDDR3,GDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory3 GB
Shared Memoryno
APIDirectX 11, Shader 5.0
technology40 nm
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement06.01.2011


3DMark 11 - 3DM11 Performance Score
min: 1162     avg: 1322     median: 1299 (2%)     max: 1673 Points
3DMark 11 - 3DM11 Performance GPU
min: 1010     avg: 1179     median: 1146 (1%)     max: 1467 Points
3DMark Vantage
3DM Vant. Perf. total +
3DMark Vantage - 3DM Vant. Perf. total
min: 4752     avg: 5797     median: 5884 (2%)     max: 6462 Points
3DM Vant. Perf. GPU no PhysX +
3DMark Vantage - 3DM Vant. Perf. GPU no PhysX
min: 4128     avg: 4847     median: 4997 (3%)     max: 5381 Points
3DMark 03 - 3DMark 03 - Standard
min: 23096     avg: 26418     median: 26329 (14%)     max: 28937 Points
3DMark 05 - 3DMark 05 - Standard
min: 13882     avg: 18199     median: 18607 (20%)     max: 19357 Points
3DMark 06 3DMark 06 - Score Unknown Settings +
3DMark 06
min: 8857     avg: 11156     median: 11579 (16%)     max: 13033 points
3DMark 06 - Standard 1280x1024 +
3DMark 06
min: 8836     avg: 10453     median: 10568 (14%)     max: 11525 Points
SPECviewperf 11
specvp11 snx-01 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 snx-01
min: 1.86     avg: 2.4     median: 2.4 (1%)     max: 3.1 fps
specvp11 tcvis-02 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 tcvis-02
min: 0.69     avg: 0.8     median: 0.8 (0%)     max: 0.92 fps
specvp11 sw-02 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 sw-02
min: 4.92     avg: 7.2     median: 6.8 (5%)     max: 10.19 fps
specvp11 proe-05 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 proe-05
min: 0.96     avg: 1     median: 1 (1%)     max: 1.1 fps
specvp11 maya-03 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 maya-03
min: 6.85     avg: 8.2     median: 7.6 (6%)     max: 10.53 fps
specvp11 lightwave-01 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 lightwave-01
min: 8.74     avg: 10.2     median: 10 (11%)     max: 12.27 fps
specvp11 ensight-04 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 ensight-04
min: 11.12     avg: 12     median: 11.8 (6%)     max: 13.52 fps
specvp11 catia-03 +
SPECviewperf 11 - specvp11 catia-03
min: 3.49     avg: 4.1     median: 4.2 (2%)     max: 4.61 fps
Windows 7 Experience Index - Win7 Gaming graphics
min: 6.7     avg: 6.8     median: 6.9 (87%)     max: 6.9 Points
Windows 7 Experience Index - Win7 Graphics
min: 5.3     avg: 6.5     median: 6.9 (87%)     max: 6.9 Points
Cinebench R10 Cinebench R10 Shading (32bit) +
Cinebench R10 - Cinebench R10 Shading (32bit)
min: 4316     avg: 5321     median: 5436 (4%)     max: 5950 points
Cinebench R11.5 Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64 Bit +
Cinebench R11.5 - Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64 Bit
min: 26.61     avg: 32.2     median: 33.4 (12%)     max: 35.21 fps
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailed information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

low 1024x768
43.8  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
34.1  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
21.1  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
8.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.
low 1024x768
34.8  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
16.2  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
7.8  fps    + Compare
» The benchmarks indicate that the game is not playable in the tested settings.
low 1024x768
45.3  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
41.9  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
12.6  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
9.9  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings med..
low 1024x768
66.6  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
61.4  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
37.1  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
12.9  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
low 1024x768
119.4  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
61.2  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
39.1  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
27.7  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
low 1024x768
41.6  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
28.1  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
22.6  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
10.6  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.